School bouncing back from rough run
School is back on after a chaotic few weeks in the Queensland town of Aurukun.
Around three-quarters of the 200 primary-aged students in Aurukun are back in class after the school was temporarily shut and teachers evacuated due to violence in the far north Queensland community.
“We think it's been really successful,” Queensland Education Department director general Jim Watterston told ABC reporters.
“There's certainly been great community involvement and there's a rallying around within that community to try and focus on attendance.”
Teachers were evacuated from the school twice in May after various instances of violence, leading Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to order a security assessment and general review.
The review came up with 27 recommendations — including introducing the “direct instruction method” being used to teach students at the Cape York Aboriginal Academy.
“Literacy and numeracy is part of the Australian curriculum and the content in the curriculum is what we focus on. Direct instruction is really the pedagogue — the way that we teach,” Dr Watterston said.
“I don't think there's any dichotomy in terms of the way we're running the school.
“We are focusing on the Australian curriculum. There is a more wider, broader curriculum being implemented but there is still a strong place for the direct instruction.”
Dr Watterston says the environment has clearly improved, but there is no way to know if evacuations would be needed again.
“We're certainly confident there's community cohesion around the school and we're certainly confident that the community values the school,” he said.
“Certainly the teachers are prepared and … we've got increased and improved security. We think we've got everything in place.”
As part of the implementation of the review recommendations, classes for Year 7 and Year 8 students have been set up, but reports say pupils are yet to show up.